Beer News

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Aven Turns Four

These photos were taken Saturday, October 2 at King Harbor Brewing Company where they held a birthday party for AJ’s son, who turned four.

For those that are unaware, AJ is the manager at King Harbor Brewing Company and he is my nephew which makes his son my grand-nephew, and for that he gets his birthday party photos on my website.

Happy birthday Aven, I hope you have the best year yet. Cheers! Continue reading

7th South Bay Tap Takeover to Feature 28 Breweries

The 7th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover is two days away, and as hard as it may be for me to believe, this may be the first time that I am not going to be rushing around trying to fill taps with less than 24 hours to go; knock on wood.

Just in case this is the first you have heard about my event, shame on me, but this is what you need to know.

The tap takeover is returning to Tortilla Cantina in Old Torrance, from noon until 10:00 PM. Tortilla Cantina is located at 1225 El Prado, in Torrance. Parking is always free in Torrance and there is a large parking structure just south of Tortilla Cantina. Continue reading

7th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Coming September 2

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7th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover September 2

I have to admit, I do not think I ever anticipated saying this back when I put on the first South Bay Tap Takeover, but the 7th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover will be here September 2! And I am sure that even if there was someone that had that kind of optimism, they would not have foretold the event growing from 10 South Bay breweries to 25.

These tap takeovers have been a great success since the first one in 2015; over 400 people attended the inaugural event. Only due to a temporary change in management at the original venue, Flights Beer Bar, was I forced to find somewhere else in the South Bay that could accommodate the amount of beer I wanted to bring in; Tortilla Cantina fit the bill nicely as they actually had more taps than Flights. Icing on the cake was that owner Rick Gomez already had a positive relationship with all the local breweries.

The transition was smooth enough that we even survived the Great 2020 Pandemic, even if the second or third lockdown was scheduled to begin the day after the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. At least this year we do not have to worry about another lockdown disrupting the event as there is no way Newsom will do that right before the election, so we are a definite go. Continue reading

6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover November 25

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6th South Bay Tap Takeover – November 25

So, let’s make this official; the 6th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover is not going to let a little thing like COVID-19 stop it! Yes, in the past I have been pretty adamant that I was not going to deviate from the “first Thursday of September” and for the first five years, we made it work. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused some things to be out of my control; however, Tortilla Cantina has been set up for outside dining and they are ready to once again host the South Bay Tap Takeover.

While our past events have had up to 26 South Bay breweries, with 49 taps, this year’s event will be a little smaller.

While four breweries that were in attendance last year have since closed up (Abigaile, State, Ximix, and Zymurgy), this year we have 21 South Bay breweries that have confirmed attendance this year, seven of which did not exist during last year’s tap takeover. Continue reading

Transplants Brewing vs LA County – We Win

In case you had not heard, Los Angeles County craft breweries no longer require reservations a day in advance, effective this past Friday. What you may not be aware of is that these breweries, and their patrons, have Transplants Brewing to thank for this development.

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Transplants Brewing vs. County of Los Angeles

To refresh your collective memories, at the end of May, Los Angeles County allowed breweries to begin reopening under an advanced Stage 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown. Because of a variance granted in June, breweries began setting up their operations to ensure social distancing guidelines as well meeting the obligations of providing food [via food trucks] so they could operate under the same guidelines as restaurants. This was a fair decision that definitely helped local business continue in their attempt to survive the decimation of today’s economy.

Because COVID-19 positive cases began rising, the County decided on June 28 that restaurants’ indoor dine-in services would be closed, but outdoor dining would open and delivery/takeout would be allowed; all bars, breweries, pubs, indoor wineries and tasting rooms were closed for onsite consumption.

On July 12, I tried to get a letter campaign to Governor Newsom, Mayor Garcetti, Supervisor Hahn, and the LA County Health Department going, but for some reason I did not see much support coming from our local breweries. Continue reading

South Bay Craft Beer Options Update

UPDATE: February 12, 2021 – The accuracy of this article leaves a lot to be desired. Please check with the brewery directly.

UPDATES: December 14 –The Crac Brewery and Grub now open for to-go beer pickup.
Eureka Brewing Company now open for to-go beer pickup.
In case you had not heard, there is currently NO DINE-IN in LA County.

UPDATES: September 13 – Burnin’ Daylight modifies Sunday hours.
Phantom Carriage adds days for to-go beer pickup.

UPDATE: September 4 – Culture Brewing Company now open.

I was going to update my last article on the South Bay breweries to-go and pickup options, but it looks like just about everything has changed so I might as well start from scratch.

Like the original article, this is solely a reference guide, so all breweries will be listed in alphabetical order for your ease and mine. Hours are subject to change so be sure to contact the brewery directly if you have questions.

Absolution Brewing Company – Cans, bottles, crowlers, growlers and kegs can be ordered online at https://www.absolutionbrewingcompany.com/shop-1. You can also order by phone at 310.490.4860 x101 or by email at orders@absolutionbrewingcompany.com. Deliveries are done Thursday through Sunday; order before 6:00 PM on those days for same day delivery. You can also pick up beers to-go at the brewery Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 to 7:00 PM, or on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7:00 PM.

Brouwerij West – Brouwerij West now delivers throughout California; please visit https://www.brouwerijwest.com/buybeer for Pick Up, Local Delivery, and Shipping options. You can pick up beer to go at the brewery, daily from noon to 7:00 PM. Credit cards are preferred. Continue reading

Obituary for a Brewery Dog

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Our first selfie – September 5, 2006

This is, hands down, the most difficult article I have ever written. On August 6, 2020, the craft beer community lost a great brewery dog, and I lost my best friend and companion of 14 years.

September 3, 2006 I was driving from a crazy party in Phoenix, Arizona to meet with my business partner and future ex-girlfriend (Tanya) for the first time in Wheatfield, Indiana. I don’t recall which day it was, but I do remember driving along and thinking, “I should get a dog.” On the morning of September 5 Tanya took me out to her barn to show me the litter of puppies her dog had; that is when I met Buddy and informed her that I would fly back in a month or so to bring Buddy back to California. I told her that Buddy would be a definite “chick magnet”; I had no idea just how much of a people magnet he would become.

Since he was so young, I did not feel comfortable taking him from his mother and subjecting him to a 2,000 mile car ride; my plan was to fly back to Indiana, buy a small carrier box and bring him onboard as my carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, the only airline that was non-stop was Southwest, and they did not allow animals on flights. I ended up booking on American Airlines (AA), which had connecting flights with five hour layovers coming and going if I did my layover in Dallas. I didn’t really want to keep my new puppy in a box for an additional 5 hours, so I arranged my return through O’Hare in Chicago, which only had a 45 minute connecting flight layover; this should be doable. Continue reading

Letter Requesting Outdoor Dining at Brewery Taprooms

As our local breweries are being forced to readjust their business model seemingly on the fly, I have written the following letter which I have sent to Governor Newsom at https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/, Mayor Garcetti at mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn at FourthDistrict@BOS.LACounty.gov, and the Los Angeles County Health Department at phwebmaster@ph.lacounty.gov. For the “Subject on the emails I used, “Allowing brewery tasting rooms to operate as restaurants.” For the governor’s form they ask if it is pro or con; I selected con, but you can decide for yourself.

You are not only welcome, but encouraged, to copy this, change the signature to your own name and do the same. I would love for them to become overwhelmed with emails on the topic. Of course, you are welcome to modify it to your own words, or change the county if it applies to where you live (it probably does if you live in Southern California). Continue reading

South Bay Breweries Begin Reopening – Phase 2 Day 1

These photos were taken Saturday, May 30 at San Pedro Brewing Company, Scholb Premium Ales, and Absolution Brewing Company as breweries in the South Bay began reopening under Phase 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown.

On Friday it was announced that LA County was entering Phase 2 of the reopening of businesses from this lockdown; apparently two breweries, San Pedro Brewing Company and Scholb Brewing had been chomping at the bit waiting for permission to reopen as they were the first two craft beer establishments to begin in-house consumption of beer and food. I decided to visit the two of them to see how close my expectations were to our new reality. Continue reading

Greater Expectations: The New Normal

When it comes to writing, I have a process. Whether my article is going to be primarily photos, or like this one, primarily text, I will start writing the article in my head before I sit down at my laptop. I don’t write the entire thing in my head, but I know what I want to be sure to touch on. If I visited a new brewery, or attended some craft beer event, it is pretty easy because I will always take photos that will remind me of what I wanted to mention so I don’t forget. Articles like this one are typically things I think about when walking Buddy. However, before I ever sit down to write any type of article I have to come up with the title. I guess this comes from my days of writing press releases; but the title keeps me focused on what the article will contain. Sometimes coming up with the title is the hardest part.

The original subject matter for this article came to me two years ago. In fact, it was May 22, 2018 that I first spoke with Gary Magnone of HoppedLA and pitched him my idea. My specific pitch was the article would discuss the expectations of 2018 compared to 2012 when it came to craft breweries. Of course, this would be as far as our local Los Angeles craft beer scene was concerned. I gave him first right of refusal, so while I write this, I am not sure if it will be published on HoppedLA or on CraftBeerGuy. Continue reading

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